Roleplaying means playing as your character, acting as if you actually were your character in the game world, instead of only playing as you, the player. It adds an extra layer of fun and immersion to the game !
A lot of people nowadays jump to a new MMO, try to reach maximum level as fast as possible, then get bored and quit ... rince and repeat with the next MMO ... The idea of Roleplaying is a different one, we're taking our time, doing some other things besides XPing, and having fun while leveling up and exploring the Galaxy !
What's the difference between OOC and IC ?
"OOC" means "Out Of Character", that's when the player is talking, not his/her character. The in-game Esoteric Order Guild chat for example is OOC, which means that when you talk in the Guild chat, you can talk about anything and everything, as you, the player.
"IC" means "In Character", that's when your character is talking. When our characters meet each other in the game, the /Say chat is IC, which means that whatever you'll type is what your character is gonna tell the other characters.
For exemple, when you're talking in the Guild chat (OOC), you could say something like "Hey guys, how's everyone doing, seen any good movies lately ?", and when you're meeting another character ingame and talking in the /Say chat (IC), you would probably say something like "Greetings my friend, where did your travels take you today ?"
What about your character's name ?
The first in-game immersion is of course your character's name ! If you want to take part in the RP, you need to choose a name that would feel kinda "Star Warsy" and could actually be a character's "real" name. You also need to not choose take a name that already exists in some well-known universe of course, or it would feel wrong. For exemple, you dont want to name your character "Superbooze", "M4r1us", "Aragorn", or "Han Solo" or anything ... there are plenty of names available if you just use your imagination !
Where does your character come from ?
It's usually a good idea to think of a little background for your character. You will see that it makes you even more connected with your character if you think about his past, his age, his family, his motivations, what really brought him/her to exploring the Galaxy, etc... And when you're done, don't hesitate to post your background here on the Forums !!
An important note about that : you can come up with an epic backstory, but you have to also respect the game world. The Galaxy is there to be used, but when you are designing your backstory or thinking up stories that you want your character (and others) to live through, keep in mind that we are all playing in a shared world. It's kind of like a TV series with a lot of writers. Each writer should have his own plot ideas, but he needs to work around the other writers. Simply put, if your your character claims to be the leader of the Dark Council, then you would have just declared yourself as the boss of any other character who is part of that organisation - without ever asking them. Likewise, if you create a RP story plot that requires that your character kills off the Emperor or that Dromund Kaas has burnt to the ground, you are claiming important elements of the game world as your own, denying all others to work with them.
What is your character's Alignment ?
The Alignment is a totally optional concept, but which you can use if you want to be more specific about the way your character will act.
It's taken from the venerable (and excellent !) Dungeons & Dragons game, and is a sort of "morality" for your character. There are 9 Alignments in D&D, which you can choose from, and you can find all the info about them right here !
What about your character's talents and flaws ?
Ideally, each of your characters should have a a special talent or two (after all, we're all heroes here !), but also some flaws to make them more believable.
We sometimes call a "Mary Sue" a character who is overly perfect. Usually found in fan-fiction, these characters are nearly invincible, multi talented to the extreme, and loved by everyone (except the readers). In roleplaying, these kinds of characters are heavily discouraged, as they are often found annoying or no fun to RP with at all. If you observe real people, you'll find that everyone has flaws, and can't be good at everything they do, so a Mary Sue will seem rather unrealistic, even in a Star Wars world.
In short, you really need to try to limit your character so that other people don't feel like he/she is too 'overpowered'. One very important thing in roleplaying is to respect the other people and their own characters.
How do we "speak" when we RP ?
When we RP, we're supposed to always stay IC (In-Character, see above). And just as with every language, there are some "codes" that we are supposed to follow when we RP between us and with other RP Guilds.
Because the Esoteric Order is a "light-RP" Guild, these codes are kept to a minimum, but it is a much more enjoyable experience for everyone if you follow them.
Concerning the use of smileys : do not use them, it is something that breaks the immersion. It may be hard at the beginning because everyone is so used to using smileys nowadays, but really, avoid the smileys like the plague in the /Say chat !! You can use the smileys in our Guild chat of course, as it's an OOC chat !
So, how can you describe the emotions of your characters if you dont use the smileys ?? Well, in every MMO, including SWTOR, we have emotes, and that's exactly what they are for !!
What are the emotes here in SWTOR ?
Emotes are actions that your character performs when you type a certain thing. They're really fun to use and to see as it makes your character really come to life ! Some emotes are /hi, /bow, /mad, etc... There are plenty of available Emotes, you can find a list here.
In addition, when you want other people to see about something that is not listed on the emotes above, you can use the /me command : For example, if you want everyone to see that your character looks confused about something, just type /me looks confused , and we will see in the specific RP chat color : Graz'zt looks confused
Try to avoid writing in the /Say chat *looks confused* , or <looks confused>, this was the old way of doing this when the /me emote was not introduced yet, some old RPers may still do this but that only shows how old they are (just kidding :p )
One very important thing when using emotes is to avoid forcing anything on anyone. For example, avoid an emote that looks like this : "X grabs Y by the throat and throws Y away." You don't control other characters, and you need to give them a chance to respond to whatever emote you write, so that everyone feels like they're respected in the roleplay. Instead of the earlier emote, a respectful one could be : "X tries to grab Y by the throat to throw Y away." This shows that your character is -trying- to do something, and doesn't guarantee success. This gives other players the chance to respond - either by letting your character suceed in their attempt, or to have it fail.
How do we get involved in each other's stories ?
After a while, you will see that you'll feel the need to involve other characters than just yourself in the RP story you're trying to develop. Almost no story is a one-man show. Plots only come alive once others join in, and only feel epic when being acknowledged as such.
If your plot notably affects some other players, ask them for permission first. If it's a simple thing, just whisper them. If it's complex, drop them a private message here on the site (envelope icon). You will see that most people will happily join you in your plot. The characters exist to be part of stories, and everybody wants them to be involved, after all.
On the other hand, whenever you are about to participate in the plot of someone else, think a bit about how that person might want that plot to develop before reacting. For example, if some character tells you that "I have been blind since birth due to a rare sickness" then, even if you are a healer, your reply probably should not be "I happen to have a cure for that in my pocket". That way you have potentially short-ciruited his whole storyline. Instead, always try to poke around a bit first and see how the other reacts. If you notice that he jumps onto any of your 'suggestions' - develop that, and both of you will feel awesome doing so.
What is "God-modding" ?
"God Modding" is in essence when someone’s character has the ability to do practically anything without limits or boundaries. We previously talked about keeping your character's backstory reasonable and believable, and another example of "god-modding" is when he/she simply cannot be harmed by any and all means other RP-ers try.
If your character is good at fighting, it's fine, but do try to limit it so that you show that your character is, indeed, capable of being injured or fail an attack as well.
We all enjoy having powerful or important characters. It's a good part of what makes roleplaying fun. But whenever you interact with others, watch out that your own character is never awesome at the expense of other players. On one hand that means that your character should never be so perfect and powerful that all others look weak in comparison. On the other, it means you should never injure, kill or otherwise overpower another character without asking that player first / giving them a chance to somehow avoid it.
This is a game, and we're all here to have fun
This famous rule is the basis of all gaming and roleplaying, not only in SWTOR. Games are meant to be fun and should never provoke negative emotions that could affect you in real life. Should this ever be the case, just take a break, do some other things, get some perspective by going out, seeing friends or whatnot, and come back in a happy, nice & friendly state of mind to play with us !
For us here, the most important part of this rule is the "ALL". Meaning "everybody is supposed to have fun - not only some of us". Basically, all other rules and guidelines above are just ways of rephrasing and explaining this Most Important Rule !!